Did you know that 1 in 4 children has an undiagnosed vision problem?*
Vision is arguably the most important of the five senses; it plays a crucial role throughout childhood and beyond. A child’s ability to learn is strongly related to his or her vision – in fact, an estimated 80% of all learning occurs through the visual system. Undetected and untreated vision problems can lead to learning difficulties, as well as behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and distractibility. Sometimes the problem is even misdiagnosed as ADD (attention deficit disorder), ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), or dyslexia. The good news is that most vision conditions can be easily corrected, once they are detected.
The following video shows a visual experiment, in which common visual problems known to affect a child’s learning are simulated in 4 adult teachers.
Vision Screening vs Eye Exam
Vision screenings – such as those performed in schools or by a pediatrician – generally only check for distance vision or “20/20 vision”. As a result, these screenings often miss vision problems in children – your child may even pass the vision screening even though he or she has trouble reading a book up close.
In contrast, an eye exam by a professional eye doctor checks for eye coordination, lazy eye, nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism, and eye focusing abilities. Comprehensive eye exams are important in diagnosing and treating eye diseases and disorders that can lead to vision loss if not detected.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children receive eye exams starting at an early age. The first eye exam should take place at 6 months of age (see InfantSEE program). Unless there is a vision problem, the next exam should be at age three. School-aged children should have a yearly eye exam.
- Infant Vision: Birth to 24 Months of Age
- Preschool-Aged Vision: 2-5 Years of Age
- School-Aged Vision: 6-18 Years of Age
Need a reminder?
We recommend that you put your child’s yearly eye exam on your back-to-school “to-do” list. Taking your child for a comprehensive eye exam is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that there is no undetected vision problem inhibiting your child’s ability to learn.
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(* Source: American Optometric Association)